Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amar Bondhu Mara

I have a lot to write about what we did on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. But for now my heart is stuck in one spot, so I must write. It's 7am and the rest of the house is sleeping. Juma is in the kitchen preparing food for the day. My instant Nescafe with double toned milk and three scoops of sugar sits on the coffee table in front of me next to my water bottle full of blue colored water because of the added Gatorade packet. My eyes feel swollen and puffy and I have a slight headache from all of the crying yesterday. I keep asking the ultimate useless question: why? why? why? 

Amar bondhu mara. That was my primitive attempt at explaining to Nirmal in Bengali, "My friend died". 

Last year one of the members of Amra Pradatik (translation: "We are the foot soldiers"), which is the collective of children of sex workers at Durbar, became pretty close with a number of us in the class. He called himself Sam, which I'd always known was short for something but I didn't know what. He hung out with us whenever we were at Durbar's central office because he lived on one of the top floors. He was bright, funny, seemingly happy a lot. He was always joking around, but we had some serious conversations as well. He really wanted to move to The States. There were no opportunities for him in India, he said. 

I once showed him a $1 bill and he was so fascinated that I let him keep it and he said he would use it when he got to America. Sam became a good friend while we were here last year, and I was really excited to see him when I got back to Durbar. I even had a few pieces of paper that we wrote on together last year to show him. 

I'd emailed Pintu last fall to send a message to Sam to say Hi and Pintu delivered the message and then wrote back for him. On Monday and Tuesday Pintu was out on holiday, so I tried asking others at Durbar about Sam, but no one seemed to know who I was talking about. I kept saying Sam, with a hard S. I didn't have a photo of him on my phone, only my old phone with my pictures from India last year. I asked the secretary, the front desk lady, the head of Amra Pradatik, but they just couldn't figure out who I was talking about. 

Yesterday, they finally did. The head of Amra Pradatik asked me to come into his office, where some of the members of Anandam (LGBTKH org.) were. They said, "Samrat." And then "He's gone". I said, "Oh, where is he? Where did he go?"

"No. Gone. Dead." 

"What? Dead? What? Dead, like dead?" 

"Yes dead." 

"What happened?!"

"He was hanging by a rope. Killed himself." 

I was sitting in a chair in Amra Pradatik's office and my eyes started to tear up. The head of Amra Pradatik said, "Don't cry. This happens in India." But I couldn't help it. 

I was ushered out of the office and on the way back to the group, they were telling all of the women who'd been trying to figure out who I was trying to find. When they said his name, they all looked down and jutted out their lips at me. I was taken back to the room with all of the students, where I tried to resist going because I was crying and didn't want to make a scene. But the women ushered me there to sit down and rest. I let myself have a good, loud cry for 5 minutes or so. One of the students was so kind to pass tissues. I was just in such shock.

Our coordinator, Mousumi, and put her hand on my arm. "These things happen here. Do not cry." But I couldn't stop the tears. 

Sam committed suicide 3 weeks ago. I can't believe it. 

So many thoughts racing through my head.

What was he thinking when he did it? 

What could I have done? 

Did he know I was coming back? That probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway. 

I'm so sorry that you were hurting so badly Sam. I am so, so sorry. My heart is broken.

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Jen A. said...

Oh, I am so, so, sorry Kristen. How awful. I'm sorry.

Marjukka said...

I'm so very sorry Kristen ((warm hugs)) I'm glad there's someone with you.

Meghan LP said...

So sad. Sorry Kris. Call me whenever if you need to talk. Love you!!

Mom said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I know you and what you need to do is think about him and who he was and do something to honor his life, it will bring you peace. Love you, Mom